Posts Tagged ‘ New Orleans Saints ’

NFL: Broncos Falter As Patriots And Seahawks Seek Top Seeds

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Week sixteen of the NFL regular season is now behind us, and we have a good idea of how the playoffs are shaping up. Many of the floundering hopefuls and wannabes have been put out of the race now, failing to last pace with the true contenders. This was a weekend of big moves for many, with several clinching playoff berths over the weekend. Big plays and big stops were in abundant supply with seasons on the line, and there is plenty to look back fondly on. Let’s review the action here.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (35-6)

A top-of-the-table clash between NFC West powerhouses that will both be playing post-season football descended into a blowout quite early on here. The Seattle Seahawks had a dominant road win here, claiming the top seeding in the NFC conference standings in the process. The Seahawks were taking on a team ravaged by injuries, but to hold a playoff side to six points on their home turf is a phenomenal effort. The Legion of Boom is back in full force, but the offense was equally as impressive, with Marshawn Lynch running all over a top run defense, while Russell Wilson knitted offensive series’ together with some fine play from under center. Luke Willson emerged as a big target at tight end, gaining 139 yards and two touchdowns to effectively end the game. With Paul Richardson and Doug Baldwin making big plays too, the offense is getting coherent. If the Seahawks beat the St Louis Rams in the season finale, they will claim the NFC’s top seed. It seems a long time ago now that Seattle appeared to be in mid-season crisis mode. Continue reading

NFL: Crucial Penultimate Fixtures For Playoff Chasers

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We have reached the penultimate round of fixtures in the NFL season. This has been a season of big winners and bad losers, with few sides hovering around 7-7 mark. That will ensure some teams will miss the post-season, despite boasting significant winning records and great seasons. With five divisions left to be decided, as well as all four wild-card spots still up for grabs, the onus is on all contenders to win out and make sure they aren’t the most pitied team in football. Let’s look ahead to the week sixteen action.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals still take up top spot in the NFC West, despite the unfathomable number of star players of theirs who have gone down injured. The expectation is that, surely, this Cardinals team’s indefatigable spirit will finally be overcome now that even backup quarterback Drew Stanton is out. With Ryan Lindley not exactly a sure-fire winner, and a ferocious defense licking their lips waiting to face him, the Cardinals are expected to bow gracefully out of the top spot and settle for their wild-card place. But that is not the style of Bruce Arians’ side. Sure, there 12-6 win over the St Louis Rams wasn’t pretty, but they ground out the win. Todd Bowles’ defense keeps generating success on the blitz, and they have found a breakout running back in Kerwynn Williams, who has added 175 yards in the last two weeks. Put up similar numbers here, and Arizona will be right there. Easier said than done, however. Continue reading

NFL: Playoff Race Heats Up

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The NFL slate of fixtures is getting more and more impressive every week. As we head into week eleven of the regular season, opportunities for wins over rivals are getting more and more precious, with a victory over either a divisional or conference challenger a serious blow to their hopes of overtaking you. With seemingly every team in and around .500 still in with a serious shot of making the post-season, there are plenty of battles between contenders ahead. This weekend sees five contests between sides with winning records. There is some great football coming up, so lets preview it here. Continue reading

NFL: Cowboys Reign In London

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Week ten of the NFL season is now over, and it was a dramatic weekend dominated by fourth quarter comebacks. Perhaps that is to be expected when a host of games pitted contenders against contenders. There was plenty of back and forth games, as well as the few big shocks that are now to be expected with the end of the regular season in sight. Everyone is still jockeying for position, and the intensity is only growing. With the hits getting harder and each play more and more crucial, lets take a look back at the week ten action.

New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks ( 17-38)

The Seattle Seahawks move on to a 6-3 record, but they had to work for this one.  They were a little scatty in the first half, going in trailing 17-14 at the half. Yet they had seen, through a series of Russell Wilson keep-and-run plays that the defense wasn’t being disciplined in protecting the outside channels. Wilson gashed the defense for four big plays in a couple of first half minutes. This set the scene nicely for Marshawn Lynch to pummel that defense in the second half, as he ran for 140 yards and four touchdowns on just 21 attempts. Wilson also went over a hundred on the ground, but looked less sure throwing the ball, giving up two interceptions. The defense played ok, but is clearly missing the injured Kam Chancellor, amongst others. Continue reading

NFL: Final London Game of 2014

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We are firmly ensconced in the home stretch of the 2014 NFL regular season. Entering week ten, every team has now played at half of their games.  The playoff race is heating up, and with a number of divisions in both conferences having at least two strong teams, it’s quite likely that a big win total will be needed to play January football,  even as a wild card. The very best teams are also trying to cling onto the number one seedings, which would guarantee them home field advantage. Things are getting intense now. Let’s look ahead to this week’s action, which includes the third London game of the year.

New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks have gotten back to winning football games. They are currently on a two game winning streak, having overcome the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders in recent weeks. Neither victory was by more than one score though, and those are not the amongst the strongest teams in the league this season. The Seahawks passing attack is ranked thirtieth in the league,  which is a big part of their offensive malaise. They are second in rushing, leaving Seattle with an offense that is totally off kilter.  Pete Carroll’s side like to run the ball, but they are not making the devastating play action passes that helped them succeed last year. Still, at 5-3, they are starting to build up some momentum, and that defense is playing tough once again. Continue reading

NFL: Cardinals And Saints Make Big Moves

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Week eight of this topsy turvy NFL season is now confined to the record books. It was a crazy week, where the Atlanta Falcons did their best to steal the show in the London game, before being pegged back late by the Detroit Lions. The Dallas Cowboys choked badly on Monday Night Football, losing to that division’s whipping boys. And the New York Jets quarterback pair combined for a whopping six turnovers between them, sending them spiralling towards the fight for the no.1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Yet there was so much more action, so let’s recap it here.

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (20-24)

The Arizona Cardinals pulled out yet another big win here. Carson Palmer obliterated the secondary, with big help from Larry Fitzgeral (160 yards and a touchdown) and John Brown (119 yards and a touchdown). The run game was unspectacular, with Andre Ellington notching one big run, but losing a fumble and not finding too many big holes. Still, he did enough to open things up for Palmer, who duly took advantage. The Cardinals won the fourth quarter 10-3, which was the difference in the end. Winning the fourth has been a very good habit Bruce Arians team have gotten into. It’s hard to totally shut down Chip Kelly’s offense, but Jeremy Maclin’s big day will be a worry for the Cardinals. Continue reading

The NFL London Franchise Conundrum

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This weekend will see the struggling Atlanta Falcons take on the high flying Detroit Lions. It is a big fixture for both these sides, who each need the win. The Falcons are 2-5, but still somehow remain in contention for the NFC South crown. The Lions are leading the way in the NFC North, but only by a tie breaker over the Green Bay Packers.

Yet that introduction completely misses the biggest aspect of this particular clash. The venue will be Wembley in London, England. It is the second of three games to be played in London this year, as the NFL looks to increase its market and potential abroad. The London series has been a fixture since 2007, and this is the first year that three games have been played there. But what are the long term future plans for the NFL in London? Continue reading

NFL: Do Or Die Time

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We are headed into week eight of the NFL regular season, with the exact halfway mark, due to the seventeen week slate, coming at half time during Sunday’s bouts. So we have a good portion of the season behind us and, although things are only really beginning to shape up, we probably have a good idea who a lot of the teams in the playoff shake-up will be, and who the teams battling for the no.1 overall draft pick in 2015 will be. It is still up for grabs though, so let’s look ahead to week eight’s action.

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have been building a strong team under Bruce Arians’ stewardship, but there can’t have been many people who thought they would be the clear leader of the NFC West at the half way mark. That was even before you consider the injuries they have, forcing the team into sending out a rolling conveyor belt of quarterbacks, as well as adapting to losing several key defensive players. Yet they do top their division, with a clear two game advantage over the San Francisco Forty-Niners, courtesy of their tie-breaking win. Arizona has been a tough place to go lately, and with Carson Palmer back healthy under center, they are very formidable. Their depth at the wide receiver position is as good as any other NFL teams. Continue reading

NFL: Broncos Reach New Heights While Challengers Fall Away

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Week seven of the NFL season is now a thing of the past, but what exciting situations it has helped develop. The reigning Super Bowl champions are officially on a losing streak, following the trade of their most explosive playmaker. Their main divisional rivals have also fallen away somewhat, as a combination of free agency, injury, suspension and personal clashes continue to set them back. The Oakland Raiders are officially the last winless team, as the Jacksonville Jaguars won at home against the Cleveland Browns. And, perhaps most shocking of all, the Dallas Cowboys are on a six game winning streak. We’ll review the rest of the action here.

San Francisco Forty-Niners at Denver Broncos (17-42)

The Denver Broncos merely swatted aside their prestigious opposition here. Peyton Manning put on a tremendous display on this, the day he became the NFL’s most prolific touchdown passer. In the process of overtaking Brett Favre’s record, Manning was 22/26 for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Those are astronomical numbers, and they go some way to explaining the unusual blowout of NFC West opposition. Demaryius Thomas has certainly emerged from his early season slump. No doubt Wes Welker’s return, sending Thomas back outside, was a big factor. Thomas added another 171 yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday Night Football. Can any team contain this guy on the outside? And to think, he was being criticised over drops just a few weeks ago. Denver look awesome. Continue reading

NFL: Forty Niners Seek Win In Denver

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Week seven of the NFL regular season is just a few days away now, and the weeks really are whizzing past us. As we approach the half way stage, the top teams are starting to pull away from the middle of the road wannabes and supposed dark horses. As we inch closer and closer to the crunch games at the end of the schedule, the top two sides in most divisions have some breathing room. The only divisions without a team with one win or less are the AFC North, which has four ultra-competitive sides, and the NFC North, where the Vikings are unlikely to make any huge comebacks this season. With each loss proving more and more costly for every side, let’s look ahead to the weekend’s games.

San Francisco Forty-Niners at Denver Broncos

This is the exact kind of opposition the Denver Broncos need to be facing. We all know that Peyton Manning and the Broncos are going to be heading to the playoffs. They will face a fight from the San Diego Chargers for the division title, but they will be playing in January. January has been the time of year when Denver has melted the last couple of times, though. With that sound Super Bowl trouncing still ringing in their ears, the Broncos re-upped their roster, with a view to matching up physically with the NFC powerhouses. They face one in Mile High this weekend, in a game that will tell us a lot about where they stand. Of particular interest will be the performance of their run stuffers up the middle. Denver weren’t that far ahead of the Jets last weekend, you know. Continue reading